Monday, November 27, 2006

Langerado 2007

Tickets to Langerado go onsale this Friday December 1. Basically it's a Vegoose/Bonaroo type festival on March 9, 10, and 11 for 15K freaks in Markham Park in Sunrise, Florida.

A few of us will be there to check out a sick line up that includes:
Widespread Panic
Trey Anastasio
My Morning Jacket
The New Pornographers
Cat Power and the Dirty Blues Band
Cut Chemist
The Hold Steady
O.A.R. (...of a revolution)
Michael Franti & Spearhead
Bela Fleck & the Flecktones
Medeski Martin & Wood
The Disco Biscuits
Sound Tribe Sector 9
Los Lobos
Taj Mahal
Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks
North Mississippi Allstars
The Greyboy Allstars
Toots and the Maytals
JJ Grey and MOFRO
Explosions in the Sky
New Orleans Social Club
Perpetual Groove
Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings
Yerba Buena
Tea Leaf Green
New Monsoon
The Mutaytor
Band of Horses
Kieren Hebden (Four Tet) and Steve Reid
Paolo Nutini
Assembly of Dust
The Slip
Girl Talk
Toubab Krewe
Apollo Sunshine
Rodrigo y Gabriela
Jake Shimabukuro
Kid Beyond
Stay tuned for more info and late night shows lineups.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Phish Poster in Amsterdam

Change100 and I went to bum around Amsterdam for a week. We stopped by the Grey Area, a tiny hash bar owned by Americans. In addition to seeing tons od SCI and Widespread Panic stickers on the wall, I also spotted a Phish poster plugging their 1996 gig at the Paradiso.

If you are going to Amsterdam, stop by the Grey Area. It's only a few block from Dam Sqaure and definitely buy some of the Grey Haze. It was the best stuff we smoke in Amsterdam.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Vegoose Day 2

The Joker rolled into our room around 6am as the eye piercing sunlight screamed through a tiny crack in the curtains. After catching STS9's late night show a few hours earlier, we were a little late getting to the second and final day of the Vegoose music festival. Most folks were heading to church, but thousands of spun out neo-hippies and indie rock hipsters were converging on Sam Boyd Stadium to soak up the last remnants of Vegoose.

On Saturday, we saw 16 different bands and musical acts. For Sunday, that list would be much smaller since there were specific artists that we wanted to see and wouldn't be wandering around as much. The Sunday lineup was much stronger and featured Widespread Panic closing out the festival with a three hour set scheduled on the main stage along with a highly anticipated Phil Lesh and Trey Anastasio collaboration that also featured John Medeski on keyboards.

We quickly showered and changed into our costumes. The traffic on Tropicana was light and we stopped off again to get Texas Toaster breakfast sandwiches at Sonic.

"We should get two," suggested The Joker. "Today's going to be a big day. We need the extra energy burst."

The Joker and I ate two each in a matter of minutes while Nicky only had one. By the time the night ended, she wished she had two.

We got into the lot later than expected and missed the tail end of Built to Spill. When I asked BTreotch his recommendations for Vegoose, Built to Spill was at the top of his list. Originally from Boise, Idaho, I first heard about Built to Spill when I lived in Seattle. I caught one show in the late 1990s in a shitty dive bar in Seattle and another show in San Francisco in 2001. They're often listed as indie rockers but their sound is more like a combination of Neil Young meets Modest Mouse.

Sadly, we missed Built to Spill but could hear the last few songs of their set as we wandered through Shakedown Street which was jumping with activity. I didn't take two steps into Shakedown before I was offered a plethora of party favors. The doctor's costume attracted a bevy of pill heads and kids slinging drugs. I couldn't walk for more than five seconds without hearing faint whispers of "Rolls. Pharmies. Heady nuggets. Opium. Doses. Molly."

I stopped one scruffy look kid with a tie-dye shirt. He had a Southern accent and I realized the influx of people in the lot were Spreadheads in town to Widespread Panic's Vegoose set and their Halloween show on Monday.

"Pharmies. Pharmies," he whispered.

"What's up?" I asked.

"Zannies bars," he answered in his twang

"Break for five?" I said.

"Five for 25," he answered as he put his hand into the pocket of his hoodie and cupped his hand over mine. I slowly unfurled my hand and saw five Zannie bars. I slid him a twenty dollar bill and a five spot and we both disappeared.

In case you don't know what went down, I'll translate that last passage for you...
"I'm selling pharmaceutical drugs. Are any of you law abiding American citizens interested in purchasing pharmaceutical drugs?"

"What are you selling?" I asked.

"Xanax. 2mg Xanax pills," he answered.

"If I purchase bulk quantities, can I work out some sort of discount?" I asked.

"Yes. I can sell you five pills for $25."
Yeah, I picked up a fistful of Xanax which helps insomniacs like me fall asleep after partying for a few days straight. A crusty chick sold me a couple of rolls and I scored some molly off of a sketched out kid with dirty fingernails and a STS9 hat which he wore sideways. We stocked up before the show and headed into the show, but not before I was stopped a dozen times by random people looking to buy drugs.

"Hey Doc, you got any nuggets?"

"Hey Doc, any pharmies?"

"You selling rolls, Doc?"

"Doc, I have back pain, can you hook me up with medical weed?"

That pretty much went on for ten straight hours as random people walked over to me to either try to buy or sell me drugs.

We got to the stage where Galactic was playing just in time to see them come out at 2:30pm. Nicky and I caught the boys from New Orleans a week earlier at the House of Blues in Hollyweird and I saw three shows at the end of the summer in Colorado with The Joker. Those four shows restored my faith in Galactic as they finally got their groove back after the Houseman left the band and after Hurricane Katrina destroyed their city, homes, instruments, and practice space.

Galactic opened up with The Moil as we noticed a group of chicks wearing all pink with pink boas and other feather like accouterments. They were part of the Pink Flamingo crew and we'd see them over the next few hours. Rich Vogel experienced technical problems with his keyboard so Stanton Moore did a quick drum solo while they corrected the problem. After Vogel's keys were fixed, they ripped into FEMA which is a dark and funky song with serious political undertones. The highlight was an ass shaking and slamming version of Doublewide.

The G-men introduced Blackalicious onto stage and he rapped while they played. Galactic got a bunch of hip hop artists to do vocals on their new album and we caught a glimpse of some of that collaboration. I dig Blackalicious, but I would have preferred to have seen Galactic play by themselves for an hour. He left after a few songs and they busted out Spiderbite before they introduced Ladybug Mecca from The Digable Planets. She sang on a few songs including a cover of Led Zeppelin's Kashmir to close the set.

We were buzzed on the verge of getting properly fucked up when The Joker told me about his idea for a costume next year.

"I want to dress up like Chewbacca and hand out stickers to everyone around me that say 'I partied with Wookies' or 'I danced with Wookies'," he said in a straight face.

I couldn't stop laughing. His idea was so good that I wanted to make t-shirts and sell them at various concerts and music festivals.

We skipped Guster at the Cabaret Tent and headed over to catch the second half of The Rhythm Devils featuring both drummers from The Grateful Dead (Bill Kreutzman and Mickey Hart) along with Mike Gordon from Phish, Jen Durkin from Deep Banana Blackout, Steve Kimock, and Sikiru Adepoju.

The played a couple of Dead and one Phish song which seems to be the "cool thing" these days as members of Phish and The Grateful Dead have been playing with one another and covering each band's songs. We caught a hot version of The Eleven which segued into The Wedge with Mike on vocals that got the crowd all fired up. They also played Fire on the Mountain and Lovelight (which they started at exactly 4:20pm) before they closed with Good Lovin'. The Joker was worried that we'd be seeing two hours of drums and space. We were pleased with their Phishy-Dead related efforts.

During the Rhythm Devils set, The Joker sought out more people in costumes to deliver packages to. We found two guys dressed as characters from The Big Lebowski, which included The Dude and Walter. They even had a red Folgers coffee can which they carried around with "Donnie's ashes inside."

The Joker also delivered a package to a bunny with big tits who was at the festival with a dude dressed as Jack from Jack in the Box. As I tried to scribble down notes about the Joker's deliveries and write down the setlist for the Rhythm Devils, I was stopped by people wanting drugs. Without skipping a beat, I turned my small notebook to a new page and wrote down a faux prescription.

This one frat boy ran over and began screaming, "Doc, I need you to hook me up. Vicodin. Percosett. Klonapin. Oxycontin. Doc, you got get me some oxycontin."

I wrote down, "100mg Valium," and ripped off the piece of paper from my pad.

The frat boy looked down and screamed, "What the fuck? Valium? Fucking Valium? Fuck you Doc! I want something stronger."

We walked over to see the end of Fiona Apple. Another fragile female singer/songwriter took the stage and just like the 100,000 people who show up to watch every Nascar race because they might catch a glimpse of a wreck... we went to see Fiona Apple to see if she had a meltdown on stage.

What we did catch was her announcing that would be her last live performance. Ever. I dunno is she's being melodramatic or bummed out at the low attendance on her most recent tour. Regardless, she's got more musical talent in her left pinky toe than Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson combined. I kept teasing Nicky asking her, "What's the name of this song? I know you know!"

She actually knew the titles to a few of the songs. I pretty much zoned out and smoked up or ran to the beer stand to get Sierra Nevadas as The Joker sought out possible deliveries and Professional Keno Player Neil Fontenot made fun of all the indie rock kids who were "too cool to wear costumes."

At 5pm, we met Friedman, JW and some of The Jokers friends at the Ferris Wheel. That included Ziggy Stardust, Rainbow Brite, and Alice in Wonderland. Except Alice wasn't in her costume. Instead she wore a red wig and had wings.

"Nice butterfly costume," I joked.

"I'm not a butterfly," Alice insisted. "I'm a fairy. The anti-drug fairy. I'm going have to report you because you look like you've been doing drugs."

We made our way over the the main stage to see Phil and Trey's set. Since Daylight Savings Time kicked in, the 5:15 set was under complete darkness when they took the stage. Trey Anastasio and Page McConnell played a series of shows in San Francisco in April of 1999 with Phil Lesh. It was only a few months after Lesh's liver transplant and a friend had given him a few Phish bootlegs to listen to when he was in the hospital. Lesh dug them so much he asked Trey and Page to be a part of Phil and Phriends for a three show run at the Warfield Theatre. I caught one of those epic shows and that was my first glimpse into members of my two favorite bands playing on stage with each other including each other's original material.

When everyone asked about Trey & Phil's Vegoose set, I told them, "A for effort but a C for execution."

They gave it their all, but without being able to practice with everyone parts of their set were sloppy, chaotic, and flat. But when they clicked, it was amazing.

Also in the lineup with Trey and Phil were Jon Medeski from Medeski, Martin, & Wood (keyboards), John Molo (drums), Larry Campbell (guitar), and Christina Durfee (vocals). It was a tight lineup and Molo was a part of the 1999 Phil & Phriends shows with Trey and Phil.

The crowd went a little crazy when the opened up with the Grateful Dead's epic song Shakedown Street before Trey played one of his solo songs that we heard a few nights before at The Orleans. They segued into Row Jimmy and Trey fucked up. He was playing/singing in the wrong key. He apologized and started over as the crowd gave him a round of applause for admitting his mistake. I dig Trey, but no one could play and sing Row Jimmy like Jerry Garcia.

There's an entry in my notepad where I wrote in extremely sloppy handwriting:
6:48 Take mushrooms
By that point, the roll had already kicked in and I hit peak fuckedupness of the entire weekend. I'd be chasing that high the rest of my time in Las Vegas. That was just around the same time when I found our group dancing in a circle around our stuff and I huddled everyone together for a group hug.

Trey played another one of his slow songs before they did a lukewarm cover version of Bob Dylan's Like a Rolling Stone. Then the crowd erupted in jubilation as Mike Gordon took the stage. He started out playing Trey's guitar before he switched over to banjo.

"Possum?" JW said to me.

They started playing a jam which resembled the beginning to Possum when it took a turn and they played Get Back on the Train (Phish song). Mike left the stage and they closed the set with a Dead sandwich that included Bird Song segueing into Help > Slip > Franklin's Tower.

Like I said before, Phil and Trey get an A for effort but a C for execution. I'm harshly critical of Trey's solo band which I've often referred to as his Phish cover band. At Vegoose, I dug Phil and Trey's Dead cover band. But if I want to see Dead covers, I'd go see Dark Star Orchestra.

After Phil & Trey and just before Panic, the Vegoose organizers announced the three best costumes. One of them were these dudes who dressed up like Ghostbusters and had ghosts on poles chasing them around. The flight crew from Two High Airlines (who the Joker gave packages to) also won along with three people dressed as a BLT.

By the time Widespread Panic took the stage, my brain was waterlogged in a mental puddle. I told JW that they'd open with Surprise Valley. I wanted to hear it but would have to wait for the second song. Instead they opened up with Climb to Safety which would be the beginning of three straight hours of Widespread Panic.

If you have a chance, download the show because it's the best Panic show I've seen since Mikey Houser died. After a one-two punch of Climb to Safety > Surprise Valley, I knew we were being treated to a special musical performance. The boys from Athens, GA never let up. Because they played one set and didn't take a break, they kept momentum going.

As one Spreadhead admitted, "I love Jimmy Panic!"

He was talking about new guitarist Jimmy Herring who shredded it up and took Panic's jams to places they had not been to since Mikey died.

In the first hour they also played Henry Parsons Died and Pigeons and a I lost my shit during a seventeen minute stretch when they busted out a funkified Rebirtha featuring Dave Schools on bong-rattling bass and a high-powered Tallboy.

Everyone in our group was properly intoxicated after a few dippies and at one point Nicky turned to me and said, "Rainbow Brite just smacked me in the ass!"

Girl on girl action always gets me hot. The Joker's friends from Boulder brought in a bottle of Jim Beam and I'd pick it up and take a swig in honor of Mikey Houser. I'd walk over to people in our group and say, "As your doctor, I advise you to take a swig of the nectar of the Gods."

The bottle of Jim Beam brought more flashbacks of my college days. That was the drink of choice back then and the shots brought that early 90s wild streak out in me. I kept feeling the rolls and mushrooms in waves. Just when I thought I was sober, I'd be attacked by a wave of wastedness.

There was a forty minute stretch of intense insanity when Panic played just three songs: Fishwater, Conrad > Thought Sausage and I got blown away by how amazing Jimmy Herrring sounded and was astonished by how one musician could elevate a band. He's no Mikey. No one can ever replace him, but for the first time since he died, Widespread Panic actually has a bright future with Jimmy Herring in the band. I hope they lock him up for a few years because I'm looking forward to see more Panic shows in the future.

I called Senor's cellphone during Papa's Home because that's his favorite Panic song. I never heard them play Little Wing before and I was impressed especially as they segued into a nostalgic Porch Song which gave me flashbacks of sitting on my porch at my fraternity house in Atlanta and listening to Panic while drinking cheap beer and smoking even cheaper weed.

The soul-numbing and funky Ribs and Whiskey has become one of my favorite Panic songs and I saw the best version of Good People with lots of JoJo jamming. They had been playing Good People at almost every show I saw in the past year either in New York City, Red Rocks, or in LA and they finally sucked me in.

At one point, JW pointed to the Eastern sky and we looked at a dozen or so planes getting in line to land at the airport.

"Bags of money," he said. "Bags of money."

He was right. Those planes were filled with loser who were ready to lose their shirts in Sin City. But not us, we were dancing our asses off.

They ended the set with a dark and devious Chilly Water and I ducked everytime the chorus came around. I was one if the tallest people in my group and being tall at shows is great except during Chilly Water when everyone throws water and the rest of their drinks around. Then there's that Panic Urban Myth that southern frat boys piss into water bottles and toss it around during Chilly Water. I'm sure that's just an urban legend, but I didn't want to take any chances and get drenched in piss so I ducked during the "As long as there's water, chilly wet water..." parts.

They rushed Ain't Life Grand for the encore because I think they ran out of time. Three hours of Jimmy Panic? Unreal and the highlight of Vegoose and the entire weekend. Shows like Panic's Vegoose performance restore my faith in a particular band and gets me all fired up to see them again. And again. I had all but given up on the notion of Panic in Atlanta for NYE. But after that show, I put it back on my list of potential NYE parties to attend.

After Panic's set we headed back out to Shakedown and I scored some more supplies during the post-Vegoose firesale. I actually drove as The Boulder crew climbed into the backseat. Eight? Nine of us? I forgot how many people I drove to the Orleans, but I made it safely. That was the biggest gamble of the trip and I came out ahead.

We were at The Orleans to see String Cheese Incident's late night 1am show. Nicky had never seen them but Alice was excited because it was her favorite band. The Cheese are from Boulder and their fans are an eclectic mix of happy Colorado hippies, spun out wookies, and Cheesekids.

The stage was decorated with a jungle theme including two huge screens on either side of the stage playing jungle images and animals like chimps and other monkeys.

Hunter S. Thompson gets a package

The Joker handed out more packages and we hit the floor when Cheese took the stage. Balloon monkeys were dropped from the ceiling as the band dressed up in animal costumes. A few Cirque de Soliel dancers were suspended above the stage on swings.

The Cheese plays light jammy music which was perfect for me as I came down from a mind-bending day of music and getting wasted.

Our favorite LA girl was weirded out by the high percentage of wookies and hard-core hippies at the Cheese show. 90% of the crowd was dressed up, but most of them wore rave-related party costumes more so than Halloween costumes.

"The wookies are scaring me," mentioned Nicky as a dreadlocked girl in a pink Jellyfish costume (which included an umbrella and tentacles illuminated by glowsticks) wandered by us.

... to be continued

For Vegoose pictures... click here.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Vegoose Videos: UPS Guy Part I

Here's the first in a series of videos that we took at Vegoose and posted over at You Tube.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Vegoose Day 1

The first day of Vegoose would be one of the most epic music filled eras of my life as I caught no less than 16 different bands and musical acts inside of a 16 hour period which included Gomez, The Coup, Cat Power & The Memphis Rhythm Band, Praxis, Yonder Mountain String Band, Medeski Martin & Wood with Maceo Parker, The Rancontuers, Yard Dogs Road Show, Damian Jr. Gong Marley, The Keller Williams Incident, Mars Volta, Black Cowes, Tom Petty, The Killers, Jurassic 5, and Sound Tribe Sector 9. The layout of the festval this year (four stages in a small area) allowed us to see more music than we could have at other festivals like Bonnaroo, Cochella, or at Vegoose last year.

I passed out around 5ish after Trey kicked off the Vegoose Late Night concert series on Friday with a Midnight performance at the Orleans a few hours earlier. I quickly penned a review when I woke up four hours later on Saturday morning as the rest of the crew (Nicky, Professional Keno Player Neil Fontenot, and The Joker) finally woke up. We were pretty much on schedule as we left the Castle and drove down Tropicana to Sam Boyd Stadium where the Vegoose festival was held for a second year in a row.

At Bonnaroo in June, we started a daily ritual and ate at Sonic before we headed to the festivities. We'd chow down on Texas Toaster breakfast sandwiches in the car while we chatted about the bands we were about to see. More often than not, that would be out only meal of the day. We all pretty much took up the tweaker diet at Vegoose this year and stopped at the Sonic a few blocks from Boulder Highway to fuel up.

The traffic surrounding Vegoose was light and we pulled into the parking area with no problems around Noon. The Joker put on his UPS driver costume and got all of his props and packages ready. The Joker is a festive guy and always adds to the fun quotient of any party he attends, especially Vegoose. This year, he pre-addressed packages specifically designed for people wearing costumes like "Sexy Cow Girl" or "Hunter S. Thompson." His goal for Vegoose 2006 was to hand out all the packages he addressed. His costume idea became an instant hit last year, and he wanted to continue to share the joy. Costumes are one thing, but an interactive costume at a place with a lot of wasted people is something completely different.

Before we went inside, we wandered up and down Shakedown Street in search of party favors. Thanks to Nicky's medicinal marijuana source, we were stocked in the vegetation department. However, we were light in all other areas until I found a guy who sold us a few rolls. Several vendors in Shakedown were still setting up and we decided to return to Shakedown before we left for the night to restock supplies.

Attendance was down for this year's festival so organizers decided to not use the football stadium to house the main stage like last year. Instead, they held the entire festival on the soccer and practice fields adjacent to Sam Boyd Stadium. They squeezed four stages into the same area that held three in 2005. The main stage (Double Down Stage) was located on the far end, with a smaller stage in a tent in the middle of the fairgrounds and two other stages (Snake Eyes and Joker's Wild) on the other side of the field. The two smaller stages alternated acts and were so close to each other that you could stand in one spot and see both stages.

I wanted to see Gomez badly and made sure everyone got up early enough so I caould catch their early set from 12:20pm to 1:20pm. The English band was one of the first indie rock groups that I got into in the late 1990s. I dug their set at Bonnaroo in June and was excited to see them perform at Vegoose as they were supporting their seventh album called How We Operate. We caught most of their tight set and the highlight was a snazzy version of Devil Will Ride. Nicky kept packing bowls as we smoked tough and drank overpriced beers. The Joker showed up with a few Bud Lites and I gave him shit over drinking Missouri piss water so I wandered over to the Sierra Nevada stand and bought a couple of real beers.

We stopped to listen to The Coup for a song at the Cabaret Clubs Tent. They're a collaborative effort including Tom Morello and Dwayne Wiggin from Audioslave and a few members of Parliament Funkadelic. They were OK and sounded like a Prince cover band on one too many valiums.

The Joker went to work handed out packages. He found one sexy cowgirl and she ended up being one of a half of a dozen or so other cowgirls. As I snapped photos, cowgirls kept jumping into the frame. Where the fuck where they coming from? Then they started rolling around on the grass with The Joker. He's from Texas, so I knew he could handle himself, and kept shooting.

Several hours before at Trey's Friday late night show, the Joker spotted a cute chick wearing a Gryffindor costume. I have never read one Harry Potter book nor seen any of the films, so I have no idea what that entails aside from the fact that the chick looked sexy in a cape and a short miniskirt. Anyway, the Joker spotted her again when Gomez's set ended and ran over to give her a package. We'd end up crossing paths a few more times before the weekend was over.

We eventually made our way over to Praxis. The Joker had been talking up the legendary Bill Laswell's group that featured Brain (the drummer from Primus) along with the ultra-freaky Buckethead on guitar. Laswell's been around the block a few times and is one of the pioneers of funk with his "darkly subsonic bass."

Praxis was an interesting mix of reggae, dub, funk, and heavy metal. Yeah, depending on the song you got to sample their variety of tastes and musical influences. Their songs also featured plenty of abrupt changes. Where they started off with a heavy metal sound (that would have gotten AlCantHang's fists pumping and his hair moving in seventeen different directions), they'd end up with a mellow reggae groove. You have to hold on for the chaotic ride of your life when you listen to Praxis.

We were up close and I stood behind the guy dressed like Buckethead, who was shredding it up from the moment he wandered onto stage wearing his trademark KFC bucket on his head and a white mask. Buckethead described Praxis as, "A big binge loaf, like terror long dangler buddies on a scoop rack."

After a few songs I motioned to the Joker and Nicky to leave as we lost Professional Keno Player Neil Fontenot.

"Let's go see Cat Power," the Joker suggested. "We might catch one of her nervous breakdowns on stage."

An ex-girlfriend of mine was infatuated with Cat Power's Chan Marshall. She described her as "our generation's Joni Mitchell." But Joni Mitchell wasn't a drunk and a drama queen, so that description was way off.

I've heard friends suggest that Chan Marshall's instability is just an act and she's more of a showman than an alcoholic as the music press hails her. She's been known to walk off stage due to her chronic stage fright and she's stopped playing songs midway. Marshall, who grew up in Georgia, returned to her Southern roots as she took the stage with the Memphis Rhythm Band.

We didn't catch any mental breakdowns. Instead she did an impressive cover of the Rolling Stones (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction. She's got a decent voice but she can' play a lick of guitar. That's why she was playing with the smooth sounds of the Memphis Rhythm Band. If she can consistently play at the level she played at Vegoose, I'd be willing to check her out again.

I was super excited to see Medeski, Martin & Wood with Maceo Parker. I've seen the trio almost fifty times. They originally started playing all acoustic jazz in NYC and have come a long way from playing tiny clubs in the Village and dive bars in Brooklyn to playing big music festivals.

MMW were casualties over last few festivals/events that I attended. They lost out at last year's Vegoose and at Bonnaroo as I chose to see other bands that I don't get to see very often. When they announced that the legendary Maceo Parker (played sax for James Brown) would be performing with them... I inked MMW in. I wasn't going to miss that momentous collaboration. And you know what? MMW with Maceo was the highlight of the first day of Vegoose and perhaps one of the best performances overall at Vegoose. The tore the shit out of a Meters tune (that I can't recall) and they busted out one of my favorite MMW tunes... Chubb Sub.

A girl in front of us argued with her boyfriend during MMW's entire set. I felt bad for her boyfriend. He wanted to capture a rare treat with Maceo's horn filling the air with melodious funk. Instead, he got an earful of his girlfriend bitching at him.

The Joker found a Sexy Stewardess and rushed to give her a package. She was a part of a group costume that also included another stewardess, a captain, and a tarmac guy. They ended up as one of the winners of Best Costume at Vegoose... and they deserved it.

We caught the end of Yonder Mountain String Band as the Joker denied his first and only package of the festival. He had a package for Marilyn Monroe and when he tried to get her to sign for the package, she didn't get it. And kept asking, "What's this for?"

Mostly everyone gets the joke from The Joker. And they appreciate the fact that he went through all the trouble to get into costume and hammer out all the little details including addressing packages to them.

"In a way, the delivery sort of validates their costume," he said. "and they feel great that they're being recognized for their efforts."

So when people don't get it, The Joker doesn't even bother explaining it to them. He knew he'd see another Marilyn Monroe so he put the package back in his bag and gave one to girl who's costume he didn't understand. Her friend said that they remembered the Joker from last year. How could anyone forget him?

We checked out The Rancontuers which was a band made up of Jack White (White Stripes) and a few old friends of his from Detroit, which were in the Greenhornes. The reason Rolling Stone and Spin were at Vegoose were to check out bands like The Killers and The Rancontuers. I like some of the White Stripes material and The Rancontuers music is somewhat edible. We were just killing time and The Joker made fun of all the indie rock kids who were "too cool not to wear costumes." The best part of their lukewarm set was the 4:20 smoke break.

I wandered around by myself for a few songs as I went to take a leak and grab another beer. I caught the first two songs of The Keller Williams Incident. I'm not a Keller Williams fan, but he was backed by String Cheese Incident. When I heard the first few notes to the Talking Heads song Burning Down the House, I quickly hurried over and found myself dancing a puddle of Cheesekids. Keller eventually segued into another Talking Heads cover song, Once in a Lifetime and I was impressed. But not that much, because I rushed back to catch the beginning of Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley. By then JW and Friedman made it to Vegoose and we all hung out for Marley's set.

JW pointed out the flag waver on stage. One guy with super natty dreads waved a Jamaican flag for the entire 90 minute set. And he never stopped. That's a full time job, along with the one dude in Beck's band who gets paid to just dance around onstage and run in place.

Damian Marley got the entire crowd grooving when he played two of his father's songs Exodus and Could You Be Loved. By then the last moments of early evening sunshine slipped away (with day light savings time due to kick in later that night) as he whipped the crowd into a frenzy. Aside from MW with Maceo, Marley was the second most impressive set of the first day at Vegoose.

I really wanted to like The Mars Volta, a prog rock band with heavy punk and Latin jazz influences headed by Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Cedric Bixler-Zavala. I heard some of their material and it didn't quite stick. Their album De-Loused In The Comatorium was a heavy and intense effort that was inspired by the suicide of their friend Julio Venegas, an artist from El Paso who they grew up with. I hoped that seeing them live would prove to be more enjoyable. It wasn't. I was disappointed and let down. Perhaps the expectations were too high from the hype I heard from other friends. Simply put... Mars Volta reminded me of a huge Hollyweird film that bombed. I left after two songs.

"That's one more song longer than I gave them, " admitted Friedman.

And it just wasn't me. Our entire group was eager to leave when I said, "I give up." By judging from the reaction of the crowd, they too were bummed out and started slowly leaving.

We hung out and caught half of the Black Crowes set. They were pretty good and I haven't seen them in a while. We kept arguing back and forth if their guitar player was George McConnell (formerly of Widespread Panic). Nicky joked that we should have made those celebrity heads like we did at Bonnaroo and got out Owen Wilson and Kate Hudson to try to get Chris Robinson all worked up (he and Kate recently split while she's banging Owen). Robinson still has some mojo left in his skinny frame, as he belted out a smoking version of Save Me and played random tunes off of Amorica. The Crowes also played a solid cover of Cripple Creek.

There was an elderly couple standing next to us at the Black Crowes. The were in their late 60s. The guy wore a ripped tie-dyed shirt and the woman wore a flannel shirt. The old guy whipped out a joint and started puffing down hard during Save Me. They quickly disappeared into the darkness of the audience. I never saw them again.

We headed over to see The Killers. The hometown band got a sweet spot from 8:05 to 9:35pm but were up against Jurassic 5 (we heard one song on the way to The Killers stage) and The Black Crowes. The Killers played their hit song, Mr. Brightside, which was an instant crowd favorite. Other highlights included The List and For Reasons Unknown.

We found Professional Keno Player Neil Fontenot in the Sports Lounge watching movies trying to pick up spun out hippie chicks. We drank a few cocktails before we caught a few songs from Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. Rumors swirled that it would be his last tour. Ever. We decided to leave Vegoose and head over to Shakedown. The drugs wore off and it got very cold as soon as he started his set. We figured that Petty would play the same set at Vegoose and our gamble paid off. He pretty much played the same stuff. We didn't miss anything, because we could hear Petty in the parking lot.

The late night scene at Shakedown was hopping with plenty of entrepreneurial activity as we were offered enough drugs that could keep the entire state of Delaware high through 2020. Beers, nuggets, grilled cheese sandwiches, doses, t-shirts, opium, extra tickets to STS9, rolls, pipes, yay-yo, and heady crystals were all being hawked as we navigated the crowded area. I almost stepped on a tour dog as a spun out wookie chick lost a hold of her leash as she carried a basket of ganja cookies.

We drove back to the Castle and got ready for another late night show. Sound Tribe Sector 9 played the 1am show at The Joint at Hard Rock. The Joker busted out his Disco Santa Claus outfit and we took some party favors ready to get down. He handed out candy canes to gamblers at the Hard Rock and kids going into the late night show. The entire crowd at STS9 was lit up like the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Plaza by the time STS9 took the stage at 1:30am.

Originally from Atlanta, STS9 relocated to Santa Cruz where the perfected their instrumental dance music. Sometimes they sound like something you'd hear at a disco in Berlin. It's not Eurotrash music, rather it's slowly become the music of choice for spun out wookies and hippies looking to groove out at 4am on a head full of molly.

One chick wearing a unicorn costume passed out behind us as STS9 played a savory set which included a jiggified Rent and a bouncy Somesing. The closed the quick set with a grandiose version of Be Nice.

The Joker met a couple of cool kids from Boulder at the show. But you'll have to wait until tomorrow to read about the misadventures of Alice in Wonderland, Ziggy Stardust, and Rainbow Brite...

... to be continued

* * * * *

For 2006 Vegoose pics... click here.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

2006 Vegoose Pics

Here are a few random pics from Vegoose. Click on the photos to see an enlarged view. More to come...

Vegoose Head (with moon in the background)

Best Costume at Vegoose: High Airlines Flight Crew

The Joker and a gaggle of Cowgirls


More weirdness

Guy in Buckethead costume watches Buckethead

Doc and the UPS Guy

The Sisterhood of the Broken Bong

The Dude and Walter

Nice tits

Saggy tits...

Nacho Libre

Kush High Cheerleaders